Cold reception for Cup 'opener' at Eden | india | Hindustan Times
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Cold reception for Cup 'opener' at Eden

india Updated: Mar 16, 2011 00:55 IST
HT Correspondents

The World Cup finally rolled into Eden Gardens on Tuesday, but South Africa playing Ireland on a weekday did not excite Kolkata fans anywhere as it would have if the hosts had been playing.

Official figures said more than 32,000 attended the game. That would have been near-capacity is many cricket stadiums around the world but not in the cauldron that this premier cricket stadium is. You can bet your life there would not have been an empty seat in the refurbished 66,000-capacity stadium if the India-England match had taken place on February 27 and not moved to Bangalore because the venue was not ready.

Nowhere was the absence of spectators more apparent than in the massive two-tier stands. The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) did not release tickets to those stands because there was no demand and it would have meant extra security for those entrances.

Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

Ireland find support
It was known every Indian fan would support Ireland because their victory would have brightened India's quarterfinal chances ahead of Sunday's clash against West Indies. Support for the underdogs even came from England and New Zealand fans, who were wearing Irish jerseys.

For the 23-year-old Dan, born and brought up in England, Ireland and England were the teams he had wanted to watch. "I have always supported the underdog, and Ireland are one. The way they play their cricket makes you feel that anybody who has the determination to make it big ultimately will."

For the purpose of doing charitable work for some of the institutions in the City of Joy in last six months -Dan knew that Ireland was the team that beat England and caused the first big upset of the tournament -- but would support the team for the way it plays the game. Even Dan's friend Sam (a social activist) from New Zealand, too cheered for the giant-killers.

Shalabh Manocha